Category Archives: Blackout Poetry

healing

healing

healing

i hold my breath
try to forget
my shoulders tense
then I remember
the sweetness
and my breathing
grows soft, healing,
like rain, my breath’s
like a kiss, soft, slow,
persistent

~kat


Today’s Blackout Poem inspired by this magnificent poem by Yesenia Montilla.

a brief meditation on breath

i have diver’s lungs from holding my
breath for so long. i promise you
i am not trying to break a record
sometimes i just forget to
exhale. my shoulders held tightly
near my neck, i am a ball of tense
living, a tumbleweed with steel-toed
boots. i can’t remember the last time
i felt light as dandelion. i can’t remember
the last time i took the sweetness in
& my diaphragm expanded into song.
they tell me breathing is everything,
meaning if i breathe right i can live to be
ancient. i’ll grow a soft furry tail or be
telekinetic something powerful enough
to heal the world. i swear i thought
the last time i’d think of death with breath
was that balmy day in july when the cops
became a raging fire & sucked the breath
out of Garner; but yesterday i walked
38 blocks to my father’s house with a mask
over my nose & mouth, the sweat dripping
off my chin only to get caught in fabric & pool up
like rain. & i inhaled small spurts of me, little
particles of my dna. i took into body my own self
& thought i’d die from so much exposure
to my own bereavement—they’re saying
this virus takes your breath away, not
like a mother’s love or like a good kiss
from your lover’s soft mouth but like the police
it can kill you fast or slow; dealer’s choice.
a pallbearer carrying your body without a casket.
they say it’s so contagious it could be quite
breathtaking. so persistent it might as well
be breathing                        down your neck—

Yesenia Montilla


genesis

genesis

the beginning of time
dark, glorious, sparkling
from dust and nerve endings,
rippling and glittering,
hearts roaring, the wonder
of wet delight, a twinge of color,
bright orange, mahogany, black,
the hum of gratitude whispered,
motion begetting light … it begins

~kat


A Blackout poem inspired by this fabulous poem by Jabari Asim. So much to play with in this magnificent poem! The photo features the Rosette Nebula.


Some Call It God
Jabari Asim

I choose Rhythm,
the beginning as motion,
black Funk shaping itself
in the time before time,
dark, glorious and nimble as a sperm
sparkling its way into the greatest of grooves,
conjuring worlds from dust and storm and primordial soup.
I accept the Funk as my holy savior,
Funk so high you can’t get over it,
so wide you can’t get around it,
ubiquitous Funk that envelopes all creatures great and small,
quickens nerve endings and the white-hot
hearts of stars.
I believe in Rhythm rippling each feather on a sparrow’s back
and glittering in every grain of sand,
I am faithful to Funk as irresistible twitch, heart skip
and backbone slip,
the whole Funk and nothing but the Funk
sliding electrically into exuberant noise.
I hear the cosmos swinging
in the startled whines of newborns,
the husky blare of tenor horns,
lambs bleating and lions roaring,
a fanfare of tambourines and glory.
This is what I know:
Rhythm resounds as a blessing of the body,
the wonder and hurt of being:
the wet delight of a tongue on a thigh
fear inching icily along a spine
the sudden surging urge to holler
the twinge that tells your knees it’s going to rain
the throb of centuries behind and before us
I embrace Rhythm as color and chorus,
the bright orange bloom of connection,
the mahogany lure of succulent loins
the black-and-tan rhapsody of our clasping hands.
I whirl to the beat of the omnipotent Hum;
diastole, systole, automatic,
borderless. Bigger and bigger still:
Bigger than love,
Bigger than desire or adoration.
Bigger than begging and contemplation.
Bigger than wailing and chanting and the slit throats of roosters.
For which praise is useless.
For which gratitude might as well be whispered.
For which motion is meaning enough.
Funk lives in us, begetting light as bright as music
unfolding into dear lovely day
and bushes ablaze in
Rhythm. Until it begins again.

Copyright © 2020 by Jabari Asim. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 6, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.


no trace

no trace

the light slipped away
hope is dead, go quietly
a dream leaves no trace

~kat


Today’ Blackout Poem worked perfectly as a haiku style poem. It was inspired by the poem by Courtee Cullen below:

If You Should Go
Countee Cullen – 1903-1946

Love, leave me like the light,
The gently passing day;
We would not know, but for the night,
When it has slipped away

So many hopes have fled,
Have left me but the name
Of what they were. When love is dead,
Go thou, beloved, the same.

Go quietly; a dream
When done, should leave no trace
That it has lived, except a gleam
Across the dreamer’s face.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on June 28, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.


nothing

nothing

nothing

the time
for words
ended,
they refuse
to be touched,
tiny hearts
that can’t love,
that reminds us
we are the worst
for the ineffable
belief in nothing
and what it leaves
behind…nothing

~kat


A Black Out poem based on the poem below by Seth Abramson.

What I Have
By Seth Abramson

Twelve dollars sixty cents,
& the fact that there is no blood no storm
can’t wash into dirt, that the time for these words
is already ended,
that for all the rain that has been here before
so have I.
& there is less water in the world
than a famous woman once said, & I know that,
& that the stars in the river
also are real I also know, for they disappear also
& refuse also to be touched. & I have touched 
bare things, & it works—
it can be the sole unbraided moment in a life—
but even so, what better days look like to me is still
the tiny gore
of heartbreak, & long walks with small shoes
that can’t be taken off,
& schools in a city I love that put molded cages
over their clocks,
because that works too to remind us
we are not ready. & the worst of all is anything that
stays as it is
when touched.
At lunchtime a woman famous for her ability
to praise the ineffable

says she can’t believe anyone returns
to where they came from.
But of course they do. In fact
some do nothing else. & what is it they leave behind?
 Perhaps not the meaning of time,
but the time of meaning, & the fact that whatever
happens, tomorrow
will change it.

Source: Poetry (March 2009)


the now

theNow

the now

shadows fall between
present and past
where forgotten dreams
reach through
lulled
by a memory

~kat


A Blackout Poem inspired by the poem by Jessie Redmon Fauset below:

Douce Souvenance
By Jessie Redmon Fauset

Again, as always, when the shadows fall,
In that sweet space between the dark and day,
I leave the present and its fretful claims
And seek the dim past where my memories stay.
I dream an old, forgotten, far-off dream,
And think old thoughts and live old scenes anew,
Till suddenly I reach the heart of Spring—
The spring that brought me you!
I see again a little woody lane,
The moonlight rifting golden through the trees;
I hear the plaintive chirp of drowsy bird
Lulled dreamward by a tender, vagrant breeze;
I hold your hand, I look into your eyes,
I touch your lips,—oh, peerless, matchless dower!
Oh, Memory thwarting Time and Space and Death!
Oh, Little Perfect Hour!

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on June 13, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.


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